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Consumption Behavior of Middle Strata in Times of Economic Crisis

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 29-03-2017
Based on the data of national representative surveys carried out by IS RAS in 2014-2016, the author presents analysis of consumption specifics in middle-income groups in times of current economic crisis. It is shown that although in modern Russian society middle income groups make up the majority of population, they cannot be directly correlated with the middle class defined in class theory framework. Middle-income groups are heterogeneous in different aspects, including their consumption specifics. Their standard of living remains quite modest, although it is significantly higher than the “survival standard”. New economic conditions led to widespread economy practices among them - primarily on consumption, followed by economy on hobbies and vacations. Economy practices also seriously affected middle-income strata investments in human capital – usage of paid educational and health services (this type of economy was more widespread among lower middle-income group than higher). Although representatives of the middle-income strata are quite actively using paid medical services (and relatively rarely – paid educational services), the reason for this more often lies in inaccessibility of free analogues rather than in search for the higher quality. Process of durables renewal in middle strata during the crisis was not as active, but their standard set of durable goods still widened over the past two years - primarily due to the relatively complex technological durables that they are gradually transferred from the category of innovation goods to the extended standard. In this regard, the upper middle income group successfully performs the function of the innovative consumer.
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